During the Charlie Brown Christmas special, Charlie Brown says how he knows no one likes him, but wonders why there has to be a holiday to emphasize that fact. He laments his empty mailbox and sarcastically thanks his “friends” for the Christmas cards they don’t send him.
I can’t say that Mother’s Day is like that entirely for me. I had several friends who went out of their way over the weekend to let me know I am loved. I got a hanging plant, a dozen pink roses, chocolate strawberries, and perfume from various friends that stopped by. My daughter Emily called from Georgia Saturday night to wish me a Happy Mother’s Day and said a gift would be arriving on Tuesday. She always remembers and does very thoughtful things for me.
I start with those positive things because I truly am grateful for them. Sometimes though, people say things about how lucky I am to have good friends and that I should always focus on that. But what people fail to realize, is that even when a person is deeply grateful for gifts in their lives, that doesn’t take away from the fact that other people hurt them. Having great friends doesn’t make it hurt less when another friends hurts you deeply. Having a daughter that loves you, doesn’t take away the sting of your other three boys that pretty much ignore your existence.
About a week ago, Colin (age 31, by the way) approached me and asked what I wanted for Mother’s Day. I basically told I didn’t need a material present. What I wanted was their (Colin and Frankie, age 12) time. I said I wanted to go out to eat with them. Colin then said he was letting me know in advance, because my friends tend to take over holidays. Huh. We will never, ever, ever agree on that one. Colin and Frankie insist that my support system is around too much and makes them uncomfortable. I insist that my support system is around because the kids ignore and hurt me repeatedly. I will believe that’s the truth til my grave.
I approached the boys a couple of days ago and asked them what their plans were for me. I told them I would stay home all day if they actually wanted to do something with me. We could ride bikes, play games. Do anything at all. But if they were going to act like they hated spending time with me, or if they were going to ignore me, then I would be happy to make plans with other people who like to hang out with me. Frankie said if we went to HIS favorite restaurant to eat rather than the one I had chosen, then he would be able to have a good attitude while we were out.
Mother’s Day went exactly as I thought it would. I don’t know how you can be disappointed when you know in advance how people are going to treat you, but I manage it all the time. It still cuts me to the core.
Anyone who knows me (and this most definitely includes my children) knows that I hate being alone. I have to do it most of the time and I’ve learned to live with it. Is it too much to ask that ONE day of the year I’m not reminded that I’m a widow?
Frankie overslept so he wasn’t awake to go to church with me. So off I went to church by myself on Mother’s Day. Why should today be any different?
I came home and sat for awhile listening to Frankie and Colin in the living room. They were hanging out together as always, talking, laughing having a blast together. I finally went to bed to at least be a room apart from the loneliness that I felt.
I got up and asked Frankie to walk in the woods with me and the dog. His response? No, I’m good. So off I go alone, just like every day. Why should today be any different?
At 5 PM we went to Frankie’s favorite restaurant. As expected, not one word was said to me the entire meal. Not much was said at all, but when Frankie talked it was, “Colin, look at this. Colin, listen to that. Colin, what does your fortune cookie say?” And I just sat there, completely and utterly invisible. Totally fucking ridiculous.
We got in the car and I thanked them for buying dinner. Frankie then said Happy Mother’s Day for the first time all day. In fact, it was the first thing he had even said to me all day.
I came home and went to bed at 5:45. Why would I stay up? At 6:15 Colin came in the room and said he forgot to give me the card. It was signed by the two of them and there was a gift card. I thanked him. I’m glad they at least did something, but I had made it clear before today that what I needed was to feel some sort of love. Some sort of relationship with them. I didn’t hear from them the rest of the night. They hung out together in the other room, enjoying each other’s company.
Now what about Matthew? He is 28 years old and lives locally. I watch his daughter for nine hours every week. I’ve spent a lifetime of him only talking to me or acknowledging me when he needs me for something. I love my granddaughter, which is what I keep telling myself. That’s why I watch her. The kids have no idea whatsoever what it means for a single mother with literally five jobs to sacrifice nine hours a week on a business day for them. I know because they have never picked her up once and said thank you. Never once. I do, however, hear about how disappointed Matthew is in the poor care I give his daughter when they find out she had scratched her own face when she was at my house. Of course, in all fairness to me, I didn’t realize that trimming the baby’s nails now falls as a grandparent duty rather than a parental one.
So Mother’s Day came and went without a card. Without a gift. Without a phone call. Without a text. Nothing from Matthew and his wife. I’m not even sad. I’m pissed. So beyond angry it isn’t even funny.
Yes, thank you to Emily and to all my friends who love me. Nevertheless, it was a Charlie Brown Mother’s Day. A day that is supposed to be a day to honor the woman in your life who dedicates her time, energy, and countless moments of agony and worry over the intense love she pours out on her kids. For me? It was a day to be reminded that no matter how good of a mom I tried to be, I missed the boat. Most of my kids are selfish and thoughtless. They embarrass me. It’s getting harder and harder to keep taking the high road and being a rocking parent and grandparent with no reciprocity in return.
I know my kids don’t appreciate me. Do we really need a holiday to emphasize it?